It was the news that many jump racing devotees expected but did not want to hear; Towcester racecourse has closed for good, with its ten fixtures scheduled for 2020 purchased by Arena Racing Company.

Towcester had been in administration since August 2018 though there was some optimism that a deal could be reached so that racing could continue at the Northamptonshire track.

Those hopes have now been dashed and the British National Hunt racing landscape has become just a little bit less interesting with the loss of a course known for its testing nature and stiff finish.

It was at Towcester, of course, that AP McCoy famously recorded his 4,000th winner aboard Mountain Tunes on November 7, 2013 in front of a huge crowd.

AP McCoy records the 4,000th winner of his career on Mountain Tunes (right) at Towcester in November 2013 |
©George Selwyn

The BHA had been liaising with Fermor Land LLP, the owner of Towcester, since late 2018 regarding its future.

Richard Wayman, BHA Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are saddened to see the closure of Towcester, a popular racecourse which will undoubtedly have created fond memories for many racing fans and participants.

“We had hoped, following the course going into administration in August 2018, that the new owners might find a solution which allowed for racing to resume at Towcester, and it is disappointing that has not proved possible.

“The BHA will now work with ARC to find the most suitable venues for the ten fixtures involved, which will all remain over jumps.”

While Towcester’s jump racing days are over, the track could still be used as a venue for greyhound racing and point-to-point meetings.

Musselburgh to be run by Chester Race Company

Chester Race Company, which manages Chester and Bangor racecourses, has been named as the new operator of Musselburgh.

The Scottish track has endured a difficult couple of years following a number of disputes between the track’s management and East Lothian Council, leading to the BHA granting the course a temporary licence to race.

Richard Thomas, CEO of Chester Race Company, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in the tender process.

“It has been our long-held ambition to increase the number of racecourses within our group and this is just the start of that process. It is fantastic to now be able to say we have three racecourses spanning the British Isles.

“Musselburgh is a fantastic course at the heart of the East Lothian community and we are committed to ensuring its future is protected. We are excited to get started by working closely with the team and driving a successful handover.”